Day 03: 11/04/2010 (Thu) Mitaka, the Ghibli Museum -> Akihabara
This day was one of the Ghibli museum days! Yes, we bought tickets for two days because we knew one day wouldn’t be enough.
TIPS & NOTES:
As I mentioned before, you have to buy tickets for the Ghibli museum in advance. You can buy them either through JTB if you live outside Japan, or buy them at a Lawson (a convenience store) in Japan. If you’re buying them from JTB, make sure to take your passport with you to the Ghibli museum. (They didn’t ask us for our passports the first day but they did the second day so it’s safer to take your passport with you.) For more info about buying tickets for the Ghibli museum outside Japan, check the Ghibli Museum site. (available in English)
We got to Mitaka station pretty early because we wanted to get in the 10:00~10:30 slot. So it won’t get too crowded, the museum lets a certain number of people in only four times a day (10:00~10:30, 12:00~12:30, 2:00~2:30, 4:00~4:30). I’d still avoid weekends or holidays though.
We waited for a bus to the museum in front of Mitaka station. The bus is 200 yen for one way, 300 yen for a round-trip. But I recommend taking the bus on the way there, and walking back to the station. There’s a path Miyazaki named “Kaze no sanpo michi” (Wind’s walkway) from the station to the museum and walking by the quiet residential area in Mitaka is very nice.
We took a bus, arrived at the museum and walked in. It was just like walking into a dream. Ghibli themed stained-glass, and interior was made with combination of wood and wrought iron. This was my second time and Derek’s first there. Derek was so impressed by how it wasn’t like a theme park at all. It was just like a classy old European house (or European inspired Japanese house) from Miyazaki’s films. There was a small spiral staircase from the first floor to the third floor, a walkway connects the middle of the second floor, and a huge stained-glass window on the skylight. We don’t have photos of inside the museum as they strictly prohibit taking photos and videos inside. But we took tons of photos outside the building.
As soon as we got in, we went to line up for Mei and Kitten Bus screening at the Saturn Theater. Even while we were waiting, there were so many things to see all around us, we didn’t mind the wait at all. Then the time came, and we went inside the theater, sat down and the movie started.
I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but it was the most magical and amazing 14 minutes we’ve ever experienced. In fact, it was too much for me to handle that I cried with joy. >_< Derek was doing well up until a certain someone showed up in the film… and he lost it too. We planned this whole trip around this film and our dream has really come true!
EDIT: I decided to add this photo of milk caramel candy for those who are planning to go see Mei and Kitten Bus in the future. (You can find them at a convenience store in Japan.)
Right after the movie, we decided to go up to the rooftop to see the Laputa robot. On the way there, we walked by the HUGE Cat Bus and out on the opening area where they have the spiral staircases to the rooftop.
We got in the line to take a photo with the Laputa robot and waited for several minutes.
When our turn came, we took a photo of each other. Then we asked the lady behind us to take a photo of us. We walked up to the Laputa robot, and turned around to pose for the photo. That’s when Derek got down on his knee and took out a ring! I just started crying, again. >_<
There were several people in the line and he knew he couldn’t give me a long romantic speech, so he said “I don’t have much time but there’s one thing I want to ask you… Will you marry me?”
I think I said “YES!” before he could finish.
I’m sure the lady with my camera was wondering what the heck was going on. We didn’t want to hold up the line, so after she took some photos of us we quickly got out of the way.
Going to Japan, going to the Ghibli museum and watching Mei and Kitten Bus together was our dream. And on top of that, we got engaged while the Laputa robot watched over us. It was truly the happiest moment of our lives.
It really was a surprise to me because he was acting so normal the whole time. He later told me how he ordered the ring, had it shipped to his friend and picked it up later. The engagement ring was a Vivienne Westwood poison ring. He knew I wasn’t old-fashioned (neither were my parents) and I didn’t care for a stone… so he picked the only designer I loved. Vivienne Westwood. I have her armor ring and seal ring, so it was perfect. The ring sticks way out and not practical at all, but everyone said that it was very “me,” and I agree.
After I composed myself, we went to the Ghibli museum shop “Mamma Aiuto!” and got a LOT of stuff! Then we decided to eat at “Mugiwara boushi Cafe” (Straw Hat Cafe) in the museum. There was a long line to get into the cafe so we got “Kaze no tani no beer” (Beer of the Valley of the Wind, ) and a cup of ground soy bean and sweet red bean latte from the stand next to the cafe first, and then got in the line.
Straw Hat Cafe stand, at the Ghibli museum, Mitaka, Tokyo
I drank: Ground soy bean with sweet red bean latte (350 yen)
Derek drank: Kaze no tani no beer (600 yen)
We got inside after waiting for about an hour. The cafe was very roomy and only had about 40 seats. They could definitely fit 20 more seats if they wanted. But once you sit down, you’ll know why they keep it that way. As you can see in the photos (you can take photos in the cafe), it’s so spacious and peaceful you feel very relaxed. Also the waiters and waitresses can pay more attention to each customer.
We sat on the counter and ordered our food. The pâtissière in front of us was making a cappuccino. When she was done, she carefully drew something on the foam of milk with melted chocolate. I asked her if I could take a photo of it. She smiled and carefully turned the cup around so I could take a photo. It was a drawing of a straw hat!
Straw Hat Cafe, at the Ghibli museum, Mitaka, Tokyo
I drank: Red wine from Koshu (650 yen)
Derek drank: Freshly squeezed orange juice with a real natural straw! (500 yen)
I ate: Gratin soup (900 yen)
Derek ate: Pork cutlet curry (1200 yen)
My Dessert: Pumpkin chiffon cake (600 yen)
Derek’s Dessert: Chocolate Crumble cake (580 yen)
After lunch we wandered around the museum some more. We went in the rooms where they recreated the workplace at Ghibli studio. Each room was very well decorated in such details.
We probably spend the most time in the dark room on the first floor. There were various exhibits about how a film gets animated, and our most favorite thing (because we couldn’t play on the Cat Bus…) was definitely the giant zoetrope. We sat in front of it, and watched it go around over and over and over until closing time.
There’s an official DVD for the Ghibli Museum if you really want to take a look inside the museum. But I think everyone should go to the Ghibli museum!
Also GhibliWorld.com explains the awesomeness of the Ghibli museum in details, so check out the page about the Ghibli museum on their site!
It was still a bit too early to go home, so we went to Akihabara. We were just going to walk around in Akihabara and take some photos but I had to take Derek to Kotobukiya on the first floor of Radio Center first, because they carried official Studio Ghibli stuff! After a lot of Ooooh’s and Awwww’s we got some stuff there, we went into some buildings including Gamers (game, anime, manga store), a retro game store Super Potato, and a gigantic discount store Donki ho-te (Don Quixote).
We left Akihabara around 8:00 and headed back to eat dinner with my brother and his friends. We met up with them by Nerima station and where did we go? The same Thai izakaya place we went on the first night! We had Pad Thai and Pad See Ew, which were delicious.
Thai izakaya Hyoutan, Nerima, Tokyo
I ate: Pad See Ew
Derek ate: Pad Thai
The funny thing was that when I told my brother and his friends that Derek proposed that day, their initial response was “Oh really? That’s nice.” And the night went on, and my brother asked me “So what are you going to say?” So I said “I said yes, of course.” And he went “Oooh! Congratulations!!” Then I realized that in Japan, sometimes women say they’ll “think about it” when they’re proposed to and that doesn’t mean “no.” I told them that anything but “yes” is pretty much “no” in the U.S., and they finally understood what “being proposed to” meant in the U.S. Also maybe a ring isn’t required for a proposal? No one really asked me to show them the ring. Derek and I thought it was very funny and interesting.
My brother’s friends were hilarious. Derek and one of them (he’s a ramen expert) talked about Totoro and how brilliantly the film is made, and the other friend made us laugh by doing an impersonation of Robert DeNiro.
We had planned on going to Tsukiji fish market the next day with my friend whom I went to school with in NYC, so we went home around midnight.
So many wonderful things happened this day. It was almost too perfect I felt like I was dreaming when I went to bed. I want to thank Derek for making me so happy! I love you!!
We have over 4000 photos from this trip and there’s no way I can post them all on my blog. So I’m uploading photos from our trip to flickr as I write a post for each day. If you’d like to check out random photos from Japan or us goofing around in Japan, check out my flickr collection by clicking the link below!
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